Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Second Coming

The Second Coming ~ W.B. Yeats, Irish bard
Turning and turning in the widening gyre   
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst   
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.   
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out   
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert   
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,   
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,   
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it   
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.   
The darkness drops again; but now I know   
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,   
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,   
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


Source: The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats (1989)

I fell in love with Yeats' poetry when I was in law school. Ten years after law school, I asked my mom to buy me Yeats' Collected Poems. When she didn't, I was shocked. Mom was wealthy and one book was a humble ask. When I asked her why she had not given me the gift I had asked for, after she had asked me what I wanted for Christmas from her, she waived her hand and said "Oh, I didn't think you were seriously."  I actually cried when she made it clear that she had dismissed the possibility that I could care about poetry. Now I wonder if my mother ever got to enjoy poetry.

Yeats was Irish and, obviously, steeped in the Catholic/Christ born in Bethlehem myth.  Look beyond the convention of the myth and feel the light and love for humanity in this poem.

everything seems so tenuous

I've been thinking a lot today, cause it my sister's birthday, about family. I love my baby sister and my baby brother and my niece and my nephew and, of course, always and forever, my daughter. I used to think that these were the people I would always have, that I could count on no matter what. But I learned, with a sickening horror that I don't think I will ever shake, that there is nobody I can count on no matter what. I would much prefer to not live in the universe I occupy, the one in which I can't count on anyone. I really would like to stop living. Oh, I'll pick myself up and I will fly to Illinois and have a nice visit with my kin but I will not quite forget, ever, that when I lost my Katie, when I really needed my baby sister and my baby brother, when I needed someone, anyone, to tell me they loved me, well, they didn't. When I was in the hospital after my most serious attempt, the social worker insisted that I give her contact info for my family. She insisted that my family would want to know I was in the hospital. I insisted that they would not wish to know. Further, I begged that insipid social worker to understand that if I did give her my family's contact information and my family still refused to have contact with me, even after they learned that I was in a locked ward because I was pretty serious about checking out, well, if she called them and still they shut me out, I would be in even more pain. She said I was in so much pain that I could not think clearly, that I should let her, the fucking idiot, think for me. There's not much to do in those locked wards. You have no privacy. They won't give you pencil and paper to write. I didn't bring anything to read because I did not plan on going anywhere. If I stayed in my room, I had to listen to the crazy, unhappy-because-she-just-failed-too roomie. If I walked into the community room, the social worker pounced one me, nagging me, nagging me. Hey, people in that ward are vulnerable. I needed, really needed, silence. I gave that social worker my family's contact info, including Katie's because I still had contact info for Katie then, and then I never heard from my family.

They never did look me up, you know. A few years later, I swallowed my pride and contacted them. We made up. We saw each other. We have a good time when we are together.

But there is a relentless beat inside of me whenever I interact with them. Why did they abandon me? And how can I avoid it happening again?

I tried to talk to them about what happened but they have refused. Well, Katie, of course, does not interact with me. But my brother and sister do. They act like it never happened. And so do I, act like it never happened. I can't imagine anyone forgets being let down big time by their loved ones but, geez, a borderline really can't forget. To this borderline, the world is sometimes swords and knives and machetes and it hurts to breathe and it used to be that I could pretend I had that little oasis in my heart where my baby sister, my baby brother and my baby dwelt but I can't pretend that now.

Fuck, I hate being alive sometimes. I'm very upset about this trip. Happy and miserable, both.

One time, Flannery and I took a road trip from Minneapolis to New Mexico and back again. Ruby was with us. She was two. That road trip was one of the best weeks in my life. I admit I have a thing for two-year-olds. Ruby was at a peak of perfection. She was just beginning to talk but she already understood everything we said. She was a very funny toddler, cracking jokes almost before she could talk in sentences.

It was an awesome trip, mostly because of the kid. I don't have time to do the story of this road trip justice this evening -- I have written about it at length elsewhere -- but here are some highlights:

We drove two long, hard days to get from St. Paul to Roswell. Ruby was a sport but, geez, being cooped up in that car seat took a toll on her. She looked a little bit like that 'Scream' guy in the Munch painting. She was so frazzled, like she was thinking 'what are you people doing to me, life with you guys has been pretty good, you've been so good and kind to me and now, what's going on, why this torture?' We knew she had had it when, after filling our tank with gas, her mother went in to pay, leaving me alone in the car with our frazzled buntot. I was in the front seat, behind the wheel. Ruby was sitting behind me so I couldn't see her; this way, her mom could sit in the front passenger seat and see the dolly girl. So there I am in the front seat. It's May and hot as hell in the New Mexican desert. I am mostly along to provide childcare when my sister attends a conference but, also, I loaned my car to the proceedings. Like Ruby, I feel that my sister has set a very aggressive driving pace. I don't really care if we get to Roswell. Oh, now it is coming back to me. We were driving like bats outa hell because we were going to go somewhere else, somewhere further, somewhere that would have required a third day of hauling as son the road. I don't remember the name of where we were headed but my sister said it was supposed to be one of the most beautiful places in the country. It was her trip and her money so I had agreed but I didn't care if we saw this place or not. I love New Mexico. I go there a lot. Hey, I'll see it all eventually.

So, we pump the gas, Flannery goes in to pay and me and the kid sweat it out in the car. All of a sudden, Ruby starts thrashing and screaming like, well, like a hysteric. She's screeching something about let me out. I thought she was demanding that I let her out of the carseat. My sister had an ironclad rule about staying in the car seat and this is the kind of maternal rule that I would never break with another woman's kid. With any child not my own, I have always done my best to follow the mother's rules; the kid needs the consistency. Plus on a road trip, well, heck, there's all kinds of things two grown sisters can do to piss each other off. I was not going to blow my wad of good cheer with my sister over the car seat. So when Ruby started freaking out and demanding that I let her out, I coo'd towards the back of the car in sympathy, trying to speak to her soothingly, telling her that we wouldn't be in the car all day, honey bee. this will be over, soon. I even assured her that I was hot and miserable, too. We're all hot and miserable, darling. Oh, I forgot to mention that one of the things that happened on this road trip is that my linguistically impressionable sister and I started talking in a goofy twang. Born and bred in the upper midwest, come to find ourselves speaking in a broad drawl. That drawl was fun, actually. So I drawl to the little one, hey, we're all hot, honey chile and we'll be getting down the road soon, I expect.

Right about then, I swear, two year old Bibbsey blew some kinda gasket. She broke out of that car seat. It was impossible. But she did it. She broke out. Right at that moment, my sister returns to the car and the first thing she sees is Ruby thrashing all over the back seat. She says "Did you let her out of the carseat?" "No, ma'm, I didn't," I drawled tensely, "I haven't moved from this here wheel. She just kinda blew."

What Ruby had done was very impressive. It was impossible for her to break out of that carseat and she had done it.

"I know you have you heart set, Flannery," I said, "On getting to that great resort but I'm thinking that if we make this child sit in the car for another day's drive there and then another day's drive back for your conference, she's going to die. Seriously, I think we have to get this child out of the car."

My sister agreed. It was so amazing that through the strength of her will Ruby had freed herself after begging her mother and her aunty to release her from that car seat. Man, we had to respect her power.

We decided to stop at the very next motel with a pool, no matter what. And we did.

The next day, we took a risk and put Ruby in the car for the two hour ride down to Roswell. We had spent the night in Portales, where my sister's conference was gonna be. In Roswell, we stopped at the tourist information spot and asked about where we could have a picnic so Ruby could play outdoors. Come to find there is a sweet little zoo in Roswell. We went to that zoo and had ourselves a picnic. We cooked cheese quesadillas by putting them in the back window of the car, in direct sun. It just took a couple of minutes for the cheese to melt. We have photos of Ruby smacking her lips at our car-cooked picnic. It was so fucking hot.

The next day, my sister went to the conference and me and Ruby went to get haircuts. When we were done, the gal at the beauty parlor was surprised to learn I was from Minneapolis. She said 'y'all talk just like you is from around here'. Flannery had suggested that I stop talking in my made up twang because I might offend the local people. It was so great that the local hairdresser thought my accent sounded about right. Ruby had really long hair and she begged me to get it cut short cause it was so hot but my sister wasn't ready for a short haircut. Mostly, we just went for the haircuts for the air conditioning. Even though it was fucking hot, like a hundred and ten degrees in the shade, no pools were open yet. They didn't open until after Memorial Day and this was early May.

Now I remember what made me think of that trip.

Once we settled into Portales, we had a little apartment. It was just for three nights but it was a sweet bed and breakfast. The landlady served us breakfast out on the patio. It was not superhot at breakfast time. We had two bedrooms, a living room and a dining area. Very nice, really. Me and the kid hung out there while my sister went to her conference.

One morning, Ruby woke up real early and asked her mother something. Ruby had just barely begun to talk when we started out on this road trip. A lot of grown ups don't notice exactly when kids start talking. My theory is that just like a kid tries to stand up and walk, what, thousands of times before he actually gets up and walks, a kid tries out a heckuva lot of sounds before they are understood. But inside the kid, long before the adults around them catch on, well, the kid is making sense. I figured this out, actually, when my baby sister was two. Flannery was a very late talk, true. But I realized, before anyone else did, that she was actually making a lot of sense long before most folks could understand her. I don't know exactly why but one day I realized that she was speaking in long, great sentences but she was rolling the sounds of the words together. Ca tin ah at. If you reposition those letters I wrote in that last sentence, it says cat in a hat. Well, this is how my sister talked when she first started talking. After this happened with her, I started watching for this moment with all children I have known and loved. They all do it: they all roll the sounds of words together in just slightly the wrong way. . . until they get it right. Just like a kid tries to stand on her own over and over and over until she gets it right. I have a theory that the earlier the grown ups understand the kid, the better their lifelong verbal skills are. The sooner the kid is understood, the sooner they can really begin to build their verbal skills. I have known kids that I could understand completely but their parents still didn't have a clue that the kids had developed language beyond mama and dada. I have coached a few parents on how to listen to babies. My own kid was a super early talker, one of the earliest I've ever known. The kid, of course, gets most of the credit but I give myself a good dollip, too. Come on, I talked to her just like this every moment of our shared lives. It only made sense that she started talking in long, interesting sentences right from the gitgo. Lots of folks thought my kid was a genius when she was only one because of her verbal skills, even her pediatrician. Maybe she was. All I know -- and all I knew then -- was that I had a lot to say to the kid and I wanted to hear everything she had to say and come on, let's get started.

So by the time my niece Ruby came along, I was good at listening to early language skills.

So, in the B&B in Portales, Ruby wakes up and asks her mother for something. Her mother, my sister, did not understand her request and thus denied Ruby. I was ostensibly asleep in the next room. Ruby blew another gasket. She kept repeating herself, demanding something from my sister. My sister could not understand what she was saying. They began shouting angrily at one another. Oh, get this, one of the things they kept shouting was "We have to be quiet, Therese is still asleep." As if. I had been awake from the first moment but I was trying to hang back, to give them some alone time as a family unit, just the two of them. These little accomodations really help on a road trip when you are in each other's faces day and night, right?

One night on the way down, in Oklahoma, Ruby woke up in the middle of the night, in pain about something, teething maybe. She screamed, really and truly screamed, for at least an hour. I lay in my bed and pretended I was asleep the whole time, reasoning that there was nothing I could do about the baby's pain and if my sister needed my attention, well, she would ask for it. Of course I heard Ruby screaming for that hour. I mean, come on, it was a Motel 6 room, not a suite at a Hilton. I just pretended to sleep to eliminate one level of complexity in the situation. The next morning my sister asked me if I had heard Ruby's crying. Of course I heard her, I said. "Thanks for keeping quiet," my sister said, "I was so glad you didn't wake up and try to help. There was nothing you could do and I didn't want to have to deal with you."

So, a couple days later, Ruby started our morning with another round of screaming. But this was completely different. How was it different? Here's how. Ruby got up and said "I wanna go outside". Our B&B apartment was on the second floor of a two-story building. Outside our front door, was a table and chairs. It was hot out there. It was New Mexico in May. But it was entirely understandable that our curious, smart little kid wanted to go outside and see this place.

My sister heard her make sounds like this: "I ous si".

Ruby would say 'I ous si' and my sister would say, "I can't understand you."

Then Ruby would scream.

I might be making it sound like Ruby was a screaming kid but she wasn't, actually. I think the only times I ever heard her pitch a fit was the time she blew a gasket and popped out of her carseat and then in the B&B the morning she wanted to go outside.

I kept quiet when Ruby and Flannery first got to arguing that morning in the B&B, remembering how Flannery had been glad I stayed out of things the night Ruby was in pain all night. That night when she cried in pain in the motel was also the only time in her life she ever did that. The stress of travel, perhaps?

So here's the scene. Ruby is making a very reasonable request to step outside and explore the new land we just dragged her to. My sister can't understand her and she is trying to keep the place quiet so I can sleep in. I am trying to keep quiet to give my sister and her daughter some mother-daughter family time without the auntie in the middle.

I lay there and listened to them fight as long as I could stand it.

One thing about my niece: I have never personally known a more stubborn child. Her stubbornness is, in my humble opinion, awesome. I always experienced her as a totally reasonable kid and the only times she ever 'acted up' was when she made an eminently reasonable request and she was misunderstood. I always thought that she 'acted up' not because she was a brat or anything but because her intellect was offended. I always thought it upset her that people didn't realize she wouldn't ask for something unreasonable.

It was pretty reasonable to want to go outside and explore the New Mexican sun. I thought so, anyway.

The poor kid got so worked up. My sister got so worked up. After a few minutes of all that screaming, I figured I might as well get up, that there could be no illusion amongst any of us that I was sleeping in. Come on, we were all very awake, thank you very much.

How to play it? My sister was standing outside her bedroom door, holding the door closed to keep Ruby locked in the bedroom. "You are going to stay in there until you stop screaming," my sister kept saying, "This time, I am not going to give in to your crying." My niece kept saying "I wanna go ou si".

I opened my door and gestured for my sister to come close so I could speak without Ruby hearing me. I explained that I believed Ruby was saying, that she was asking to go outside.

"Oh, well," my sister said, "She can go outside. Ruby, you can come out now. Let's go outside. Let's ask the landlady if she can serve our breakfast out there."

We did have our breakfast outside. Ruby sobbed a long time. You now how sometimes a kid cries real hard and then they sob uncontrollably for a long time afterwards. That's what she did. Her eyes were so red. She shuttered with those uncontrollable sobs.

One of the great things about kid, maybe the very best thing about them, is that they are always willing to put unhappiness behind them. She may have sobbed through breakfast but her unhappiness was forgotten.

Why am I telling this long, long story tonight? Because I identify with those long ago sobs that emanated in my dear little Ruby when she kept begging to go outside and her mother misunderstood her. On that long ago morning, my sister 'got' that Ruby was asking for something. She knew her daughter was saying 'I want' but she couldn't understand the next part. My sister kept saying "what do you want?" and Ruby kept saying "I wanna go ou sie"

I feel like I am clamnoring for something but nobody can hear me. Well, that nobody is listening.

When my sister kept saying what do you want and Ruby would repeat her fruitless line, then Ruby would say "I'll be good, mommy, I'll be good". Gosh, it pinches my heart all over again to remember the scene. My sister wanted to give Ruby what she wanted and once she knew what she wanted, she let her out, of course. Our dear Ruby sobbed so mournfully as she said "I'll be good, I'll be good."

I feel like that little girl, sobbing 'I'll be good', over and over.

I'll be good, I promise. Man, if only good intentions amounted to anything.

road trip with baby

When my sister, sitting in my Minnesota livng room, strategized about getting a teaching job in New Mexico when she finished her MS in Education, we both realized she could not go to each of the three teacher job fairs in New Mexico and leave her baby behind with me. She could not afford to fly to New Mexico three times, plus hotels. And she could not imagine being parted from her child for a week at a time, much less make one long trip to take in all three job fairs with her little one in Minnesota.

I could feel her aching just as she lightly thought of being parted from her baby, then about fourteen months old.

She was going to New Mexico because I loved it. We planned that we would both move there, that I would join her after I finished my MS in Organization Development.  Flannery had never been to New Mexico before so it was sisterly love that motivated her to move to New Mexico. I felt some obligation since she was moving to New Mexico so we could be a family. Plus I love New Mexico.  She spoke of the possibility of driving, to save costs.  Not only did driving add time

I said "If you pay for the gas and motels, and we can do Motel 6's all the way there and back, I will pay for my own food because I would be eating anyway, if I had stayed home. And I'll kick in the wear and tear on my car."  I had added in that bit about wear and tear because I felt guilty asking her to pay for the trip costs. "While you are at the job fairs, I can take care of Ruby."

I loved my niece. I loved to tend to her.

easy to say, hard to do sometimes

Every day I observe more and more the folly of judging of others by ourselves; and I have so much trouble with myself, and my own heart is in such constant agitation, that I am well content to let others pursue their own course, if they only allow me the same privilege.  ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

on different note:   can you imagine meeting someone in 2015 named Wolfgang?!

less sturdy than a dandelion puff

Refusing to give up something I love 
is a dark and risky business:   
someday I will go too far, 
piss you off and you will be gone 
and I am not made of brick, nor straw. 
I bleed, I wail, I wound
I am made up of something 
less sturdy than a dandelion puff.   
~ Tree Fitzpatrick 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

beautiful Archangel Michael painting, today Michaelmas


May the Michaelic force of love inspire you to evolve to higher consciousness. Archangel Michael will defeat any foe, any darkness. Open to the love he personifies!

why I am closing this blog, but still waffling

I love seeing, in google statistics, that folks all over the world stop by this blog, typically about 300+ a day.  And I know my blog has no focus, that it is almost a personal journal but it is also kinda like a scrapbook of thoughts, essays, poems and life events that I feel like either cutting and pasting about or writing about.

But only two or three folks, in over eight years and almost six thousand blog posts have ever commented.

If anyone reads this and would like me to reopen this blog and keep doing what I am doing, out yourself. I want to know who the returning readers are. About 40% of my readers are repeat visitors -- I know this from Google Analytics but I don't know who anyone is.

So if anyone has been following me and wonders why I have been closed, then open, then closed, well, I was trying on the idea of letting the blog go. My 'real' writing life is hitting a lovely groove. I need to invest time in submitting my short stories, which I am getting the knack of. Writing is fascinating to me. I have written and written and written, in fits and starts, all my life, but in the past two plus years, since I found my sweet writing group (thanks to all of my group!), and also because I have been writing quite a lot, suddenly I am finding a rhythm for plot development.


I always had some strengths. And I am a good storyteller. But I have been lazy about submitting.

So that's what I am doing. When I feel like killing time by posting things that interest me, or move me, on my blog, I'm going to polish my stories and/or work on submissions.

Tell me who you are, whoever any of you are, and I might keep it going.

When it starts it starts, when it's over it's over. And the only thing that could or should happen is what does happen. It is so.

I have another reason for trying to discontinue but I have better boundaries than I used to. I am reminded of a lost-touch-with friend from Minnesota. She had a few murder mysteries published 20 to 30 years ago, while she always saw herself as a poet. She wrote the murder mysteries to earn a living but she was a poet.  Before I met her (she came to one of my intensive workshops in the late eighties), I had read one of her early pieces in a writing class. The writing instructor had given students photocopies of several short pieces, including one of hers. I don't remember what she wrote about in that piece. I remember, however, that when I mentioned to her that I had read it and described it to her she said "Oh, that was before I learned to have boundaries in my writing."

I am holding some energy open in writing this blog that I need to close. This is painful energy and I wish to stop hurting. I so want to write about this pain -- but, like my long-ago murder mystery writing friend, I am developing boundaries in my writing.

Gallup, NM

Margaret Danaher had gotten pregnant on a date rape, just after she had finished her first Masters degree in Communication, which she had done on a full fellowship at Stanford. It was the closest thing to J-school that she could both get into and get a free ride. Stanford, not too shabby.

She moved back to the E Liverpool, Ohio, which is on the Ohio River, right at the point where the little fintertip of W. Virginia comes up to Pennsylavania on the east side of the Ohio River, with E. Liverpool taking up the end of the bridge on the west side of the river.  About forty five miles from big city Pittsburg but Ohio is littered with lots of cities. Youngstown was not very far. Cleveland was not that far.

Margaret, apparently not hip to the way the internet was transforming journalism, decided to start a newspaper in E. Liverpool, where she had grown up because her mother's second husband, her stepfather, owned a small factory along the Ohio river. That factory made colors for ceramics, including ceramics used on machine parts, like on plane engines. So it used a lot of chemicals. Her stepfather, Ron,  had been a chemical engineer, inherited the business from his father and her stepfather's father had founded the business after emigrating to America from Liverpool, England. Apparently, that fingertip of W. Virginia was full of famed potteries in its heydey and Ron's father,  had worked in his family's ceramics color business back in England. It had been natural to gravitate to what used to be a major center for dishes.

Once

the story:  about M going into the Dunkin Donut to tell a student's mother she thought that if her daughter wuld just apply herself a little bit more, she could get into the U. of NM in Albuquerque, get a scholarship and other financial aid and become a college graduate.

In her first year of teaching

my no subject July 28 email to M

Trees are the most trusting of all living creatures because they trust enough to put their roots down in one place, knowing they'll be there for life.
~author unknown
I am proud of the way I trust everyone.  I am human so I am imperfect, far from my ideal Self.  Real friendship between wise beings lasts forever and nothing a friend does is ever beyond forgiveness. Nothing is beyond forgiveness.

storm over the madderhorn

I moved to Omaha, NE to please my long-ago ex-husband.  I was young and so naive. I did not understand that my husband was a conservative, much less a Republican. How the heck did I miss that?

I already knew that art mattered to me but I assumed, quite mistakenly, that Omaha was a big enough city that it would have an arts community. Nope.  It was virtually impossible to see art films in Omaha. I was a major movie buff.  There was a theater in Omaha that offered one screening, once each month, of one art film. Of course I attended but each time we would go to see my monthly art film, I would ache to be back in Minneapolis, where I had gone to law school. 

Minneapolis is not nearly as big as Chicago, my home town, but the Twin Cities had a tradition of local corporations tithing seriously to the local arts community. Minneapolis, in the seventies, eighties and nineties (and still, for all I know) had the best theater life between the two coasts. And Minneapolis has several art museums of great stature.  Nothing like the grande dame, the Chicago Art Institute, but, combining the various museums in Minneapolis, you could see it all.

I either vaguely recall or I am making this memory up but it seems to me I asked my husband, when we first discussed moving to Omaha, if there was an art museum. I guess we did discuss the Joslyn Art Museum because when we got engaged, he asked me if I would be the kind of wife who would be a docent at the Joslyn. Since I had always wanted to be an art docent

this happened

One time, when I was in high school and living on Chicago's far South Side, along 79th street, my mom was going to college part time and working as a sales clerk at a department store to pay her college tuition. Her college and work was possible because I babysit every minute I was not in school. But if we still lived near 79th Street, I was a freshman or a sophomore. We moved in my junior year.

Mom had to take a bus home from her department store, from 95th & Western, to 79th and Western. At 79th and Western, that was a bus transit center. One could take a bus headed West to our street, which was Sacramento, from that transit center. And it was a well lit and frequently patrolled location so it felt safe, even for teenage me, to wait for the bus. But sometimes, mom would walk. It is only about five or six blocks from 79th and Western to where we lived on Sacramento. Late in the evening, the buses might have come once an hour.

Sometimes mom opted to walk, which would get her home more quickly.

It was a dark stretch of Chicago. On 79th Street between Kedzie and Western, and we lived between Kedzie and Western one hour south of 79th Street, were houses on the south side. The north side, however, was one long train depot. Or train switching area. Or something. It was all freight trains, mostly stored there. Long, dark, lonely.

I hated living in that house, along that dreary stretch of Chicago. And I guess my folks hated it too because we only lived there three years. My mom had downsized to a very small home for she had decided to divorce

like a fat gold watch

MORNING SONG
By Sylvia Plath, from Ariel

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.
Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.
I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.
All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.
One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square
Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.
. . . . . . . . .

another admonition

Admonition by Sylvia Plath

If you dissect a bird
To diagram the tongue
You'll cut the chord
Articulating song.
If you flay a beast
To marvel at the mane
You'll wreck the rest
From which the fur began.
If you pluck out the heart
To find what makes it move,
You'll halt the clock
That syncopates our love.

wow, could she write or what?

MORNING SONG
By Sylvia Plath, from Ariel

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.
Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.
I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distils a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.
All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.
One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square
Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.
. . . . . . . . .

the window square whitens and swallows its dull stars. Wow. Zowie wow. This chick could write.

yearning

I used to google my daughter every day, hoping to find her. I think she has changed her name, which is easy to do. She could have married. Still, I long to find her. So I change tactics. I scour the internet for people in her life. I don't know the names of anyone in her life since she was 19 and transferred to a new college. So I spelunk in, for my purpose, her useless past. I don't think she has kept in touch with her grade school chums or her high school pals but that's the links I have. So I dig.

A little while ago -- I have lost track of time -- I came upon a cache of photos of young women that I knew we children, a gaggle of them. A couple were pregnant in the photos, a couple were already mothers. This could be my Katie.

An old friend from MN, whose son was in Katie's Waldorf class, has married a woman named Katherine. That could be my Katie. This 'boy', Alex, and his wife, Katherine, have two girls. My friend has two granddaughters.

I keep seeing Katie pregnant. I keep wanting to touch her tummy, to feel the baby within her move. Is it the baby or her that I yearn for? I'd settle for either one.

Anyway . . .this poem has been on my mind.



MORNING SONG by Sylvia Plath

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distils a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square
Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.

a prayer that I will not see you in my dreams

"Special Glasses" by Billy Collins

 

I had to send away for them

because they are not available in any store.

 

They look the same as any sunglasses

with a light tint and silvery frames,

but instead of filtering out the harmful

rays of the sun,

 

they filter out the harmful sight of you --

you on the approach,

you waiting at my bus stop,

you, face in the evening window.

 

Every morning I put them on

and step out the side door

whistling a melody of thanks to my nose

and my ears for holding them in place, just so,

 

singing a song of gratitude

to the lens grinder at his heavy bench

and to the very lenses themselves

because they allow it all to come in, all but you.

 

How they know the difference

between the green hedges, the stone walls,

and you is beyond me,

 

yet the schoolbusses flashing in the rain

do come in, as well as the postman waving

and the mother and daughter dogs next door,

 

and then there is the tea kettle

about to play its chord—

everything sailing right in but you, girl.

 

Yes, just as the night air passes through the screen,

but not the mosquito,

and as water swirls down the drain,

but not the eggshell,

so the flowering trellis and the moon

pass through my special glasses, but not you.

 

Let us keep it this way, I say to myself,

as I lay my special glasses on the night table,

pull the chain on the lamp,

and say a prayer—unlike the song—

that I will not see you in my dreams.

embrace

I am bored. I've been lame less than twenty four hours and already I bored with being an invalid. I want to go out. I want to walk up the hill to Moe's Books and see if they have any used Billy Collins books that I don't have. And then if they don't have any, I will order one online. I have been buying one book of poetry each month, unless I buy two. I love Billy Collins but so does everyone else because he is always sold out at Moe's. He is an accessible poet.

Embrace by Billy Collins

You know the parlor trick.
wrap your arms around your own body
and from the back it looks like
someone is embracing you
her hands grasping your shirt
her fingernails teasing your neck
from the front it is another story
you never looked so alone
your crossed elbows and screwy grin
you could be waiting for a tailor
to fit you with a straight jacket
one that would hold you really tight.




listen past angry words

Usually when someone is angry, we hear their angry words. Instead, listen past language, listen to the energy of the angry person. They are likely saying they are scared, frustrated, in pain, feel threatened, feel vulnerable and are not getting their needs for safety, love and a sense of security in their relationship with you.

rumi describes true intimacy

~ Rumi wrote this
A mouse and a frog meet every morning on the
riverbank. They sit in a nook of the ground and talk.
Each morning, the second they see each other,
they open easily, telling stories and dreams and
secrets, empty of any fear or suspicious holding back.
To watch and listen to those two
is to understand how, as it's written,
sometimes when two beings come together,
Christ becomes visible.
The mouse starts laughing out a story he hasn't
thought of in five years, and the telling might take five years!
There's no blocking the speechflow-river-running-
all-carrying momentum that true intimacy is.
Bitterness doesn't have a chance
with those two.
The God-messenger, Khidr, touches a roasted fish.
It leaps off the grill back into the water.
Friend sits by Friend, and the tablets appear.
They read the mysteries off each other’s foreheads.
But one day the mouse complains, "There are times
when I want 'sohbet' (spiritual conversation),
and you're out in the water,
jumping around where you can't hear me.
We meet at this appointed time,
but the text says, Lovers pray constantly.
Once a day, once a week, five times an hour,
is not enough. Fish like we are
need the ocean around us!"
Do camel bells say, “Let's meet back here Thursday
night?” Ridiculous. They jingle together continuously,
talking while the camel walks.
Do you pay regular visits to yourself?
Don't argue or answer rationally.
Let us die,
and dying,
reply.

today is Michaelmas, take the word of love into your soul's aspiring

Mi-chi-el, the great archangel, will defeat the foe of dark forces that appear to be taking over this world. The dark forces are sometimes referred to as Ahriman, one of the fallen, dark archangels. And, gosh, whenever I think of Ahriman these days, I also think of Voldemort. Would that mean Harry Potter is a riff on Archangel Michael?

Rudolf Steiner: "One who understands how to observe such things knows what a great change took place in the last third of the nineteenth century with respect to the life of human thought. Before that time man could only feel how thoughts formed themselves in his own being; from the time indicated he is able to raise himself above his own being; he can turn his mind to the spiritual; he there meets Michael, who proves his ancient kinship with everything connected with thought. He liberates thought from the sphere of the head; he clears the way for it to the heart; he enkindles enthusiasm in the feelings, so that the human mind can be filled with devotion for all that can be experienced in the light of thought.
    The Age of Michael has dawned. Hearts are beginning to have thoughts; spiritual fervor is now proceeding not merely from mystical obscurity but from souls clarified by thought. To understand this means to receive Michael into the heart. Thoughts which at the present time strive to grasp the spiritual must originate in hearts which beat for Michael as the fiery Prince of Thought in the universe."


Springing from powers of the Sun,
Radiant spirit-powers, blessing all worlds!
For Michael's garment of rays
You are predestined by Divine Thought.

He, the Christ messenger, reveals in you--
Bearing humankind aloft--the sacred will of worlds.
You, the radiant beings of ether worlds,
Bear the Christ-Word to human beings.

Thus shall the herald of Christ appear
To the thirstily waiting souls
To whom your Word of Light shines forth
In the cosmic age of the Spirit Human Being.

You, the disciples of spirit knowledge,
Take Michael's beckoning wisdom;
Take the Word of Love of the Will of Worlds
Into your soul's aspiring, fervently!

an evolved woman, that's me

An evolved woman attracts an awakened man into her life, with their souls recognizing each other long before their physical bodies ever do. They are drawn to each other through love, and by loving together to advance to new levels of maturity on their spiritual journey. A woman who lives her life from the inside out is a great inspiration for a man who desires to discover his own significance. And conversely, a man who has wrestled with ego and now lives in authenticity will inspire the woman to greatness and bring out the goddess in her. If the man chooses a woman simply for lower vibrational reasons, such as casual sex, it reveals that he is not ready to do the soul work that will bring him into a place of higher consciousness. Real love can only be understood and seen with the eyes of the soul.
~ Daniel Nielsen ~
I met my evolved man but he was not ready. Or I wasn't ready.  I am keening in grief after two years of losing him.

from the sublime of poetry to the mundane of life

Today, for the first time since July, I made myself my banana egg pancake. One banana, two eggs, some chia seeds because I add chia seeds to anything I can and cinnamon. Oh, the initial recipe also includes some vanilla but I tend to forget the vanilla. You can make a whole batch of pancake batter by multiplying bananas and eggs. The riper the banana, the better. Blend, then pour into circles on your griddle just as you would 'regular' pancake batter. Who says what is a regular pancake batter?!

Banannas are full of starch and they work surprisingly well in substitute for flour.

Sometimes I add a few raspberries but the last time I made these, at my friend Peggy's, I put in too many raspberries. She said my pancakes, which we had eaten for our dinner, were too sweet. It was the raspberries. I had added too many to sweeten those babies up for my dear Peggy, like a doting mother fixing a treat. And Peggy didn't like the taste of the coconut oil that I use.  I only use olive oil and coconut oil and I would not use olive oil for my banana pancakes.

I have learned, since I integrated coconut oil and milk into my nutrition, that many folks quite dislike banana. Coconut milk, to me, has no flavor. I only use it to make my daily cup of spicy chai more comforting. Milky tea is comforting to me!

Peggy is not a fan of coconut.

I had been eating one of my banana pancakes daily until Peggy said my raspberry banana pancakes were too sweet and the taste of coconut oil too strong. That was at the end of July and I made my first banana pancake since then just now.

I am happy to report that I really love my banana pancakes. Today I cooked it a tad too long so the bottom had a light crisp to it, which, for me, makes for the perfect pancake.

I have about six ripening bananas. It's gonna be banana pancakes all week!  Yum.

Prufrock, first hippster?

The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock, by T.S. Eliot,  has been said to be a bit of an alter ego for its author.  When Eliot wrote it, at age 26, he was a virgin, self-conscious and erudite but a man befuddled a about women, especially about how to garner their attention. He was also muddling through a society with many rules and mores. Said to be very self conscious, many think this poem was autobiographical but it is much more than autobiography. It is a commentary on life and a response to Hamlet's "to be or not to be" speech.  Artists often engage in dialogues with other artists through their work. Poets, and other high empaths, vibrate at a different range than the rest of us, like they can hear dog whistles or something.

I love T.S. Eliot's work.  A good friend in college has quite a thing for this poem.Through my friend, Eliot took hold in me.

The stand-out line of this poem, for me, has always been 'do I dare to eat a peach?' Without knowing about all the allusions and imagery that academics project onto poems, I instantly got that the question was existential. Now I have read academic speculation on that line. Some suggest Alfred feared eating a peach because it could be messy, it might have dripped. Another far more interesting academic commentator suggested that

In a January 4, 2015 piece in The Atlantic, Karen Swallow Price suggests that Prufrock may have been the first hipster, that perhaps Elliot first identified the hipster. Jan 4, 2015 was the 50th anniversary of Eliot's death.

Another commentator, at genius.com, said this, and these thoughts are interesting as background, at least for me:

Prufrock’s getting on in age; (N.B. Eliot was 21 when he wrote the first draft of this poem) he doesn’t want to lose a tooth, or eat the “wrong” thing as part of his diet, or be seen with delicious peach juices running down his chin: in other words, he’s going crazy troubling himself with mundane concerns. The line also functions more subtly as a metaphor for the girl he desires, who appears to be a younger woman. Think of the peach as a kind of stand-in for Eve’s apple. (And if you’re seeing some sexual innuendo in the line, you’re not wrong.) (N.B. gee, ya think? Of course there is sexual innuendo, of course taking a bite of women is part of what the line allutes to, but also taking a bite out of life!)
The peach is also a metaphor for taking a bite out of life, as if taking the bite will justify his existence and renew his vitality. The fruit is juicy as hell and drips all over. It’s real; sweet and sour, hard and soft, smooth and fuzzy, ripe and unripe. It’s delicious, but you can’t let it rot.
Hamlet, to whom Prufrock feels inferior, contemplates things like murder and the secrets of the universe. Prufrock, though equally fraught with existential malaise, is more pathetic, as his contemplative nature lacks any of the dramatic interest of Hamlet’s. The simple act of eating a peach is something that consumes his conscience in bitter inner debate.
In the end, too, unlike Prufrock, Hamlet actually did something. Though it took the prospect of his own death to spur him into action, he got decisive and killed his uncle Claudius. Prufrock sees himself as a coward who will never find the courage to act no matter what.
And this comment, anonymously included on genius.com after the above notes:

Peaches, apart from juicy and invigorating, are seen in traditional Chinese folklore as symbols of life and immortality. Called 仙桃, “xiāntáo” , they were consumed by the immortals in order to prolong their lives indefinitely. Eliot was havily interested in Eastern culture and myth where, he believed, the spiritual salvation will eventually come for the stale Western ideas (remember the chanting from the Upanishad in the final verses of The Waste Land).

My gosh, if Eliot was heavily interested in Eastern culture and myth, if Eliot believed spiritual salvation will come from Eastern spirituality, he was the first hipster. Today, so many folks are into Buddhism or pseudo-Buddhism, or Buddhism-light. Mindfulness is so very very cool: any pseudo-Buddhism can tell you that one need not eat the peach but merely to mindfully think about doing so!
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, by T.S. Eliot

S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma percioche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.
Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question ...
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair —
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin —
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
               So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
               And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
               And should I then presume?
               And how should I begin?

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? ...

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep ... tired ... or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet — and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it towards some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head
               Should say: “That is not what I meant at all;
               That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
               “That is not it at all,
               That is not what I meant, at all.”

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old ... I grow old ...
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind?   Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.





hope is such a vulnerable emotion

Emily Dickinson wrote about hope as 'that thing with feathers':

Hope' is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—

I've heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.

~ Emily Dickinson
Sore must be the storm that could abash hope that keeps so many warm is marketedly distinct from J. Alfred Prufrock's take on hope. Or  Eliot's.  I will post The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock in my next post.

I have sometimes believed that hope is a curse and the curse is its eternal springing. Hope, feathers included, is such a vulnerable emotion. It leads one to dare to hope that things might improve. Things seldom do.

do I dare to risk delight?

A Brief For The Defense by Jack Gilbert.  Gilbert started out in San Francisco, lived abroad much of his life and recently passed away from his home in Berkeley.This poem is fierce, getting up in our faces to remind us of all the sorrow and suffering there is in the world, but the poem insists that God wants us to enjoy our lives, insists that pleasure matters even when babies are starving somewhere.  It's fierce but that is why I love it.  As Jack Gardner says below "To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil". Powerful thoughts.


A Brief for the Defense.

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered cafés and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.

I have come to my real journey

"It may be that when we no longer know
what to do we have come to our real work,
And that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings. "
Wendell Berry (1934 -)

Willing to die you
give up your will;
keep still, until
moved by what moves all else,
you move.
Wendell Berry (1934 -)


Monday, September 28, 2015

L O V E, a choice to love is move towards liberation

L O V E
The moment we choose to love we begin to move against domination, against oppression. The moment we choose to love we begin to move towards freedom, to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others.
~ bell hooks

I wait like a lonely house

Sonnet LXV  ~ Pablo Neruda (I wait for you like a lonely house)
Matilde, where are you? Down here I noticed,

under my necktie and just above my heart,
a certain pang of grief between the ribs,
you were gone that quickly.

I needed the light of your energy,
I looked around, devouring hope.
I watched the void without you that is like a house,
nothing left but tragic windows.

Out of sheer taciturnity the ceiling listens
to the fall of the ancient leafless rain,
to feathers, to whatever the night imprisoned;
so I wait for you like a lonely house
till you will see me again and live in me.
Till then my windows ache.

Trans – Stephen Tapscott

Sunday, September 27, 2015

I surprised myself

I awoke in the middle of the night. Against my own good judgment, I dug out some emails from about two years ago, emails that were the end of a relationship that matters to me still.

For the first time since the break up, I cried loud, hard and long.  I don't remember having cried so hard before.

not a widow but living on a widow's walk

“So I wait for you like a lonely house
till you will see me again and live in me.
Till then my windows ache.”

~ Pablo Neruda

Saturday, September 26, 2015

my prayer for me

Enlighten what is dark in me
Strengthen what is weak in me
Mend what is broken in me
Bind what is bruised in me
Heal what needs healing in me
Revive any peace and love
that has been diminished in me.

This I pray for me.

L O V E, defined by bell hooks

L O V E
The moment we choose to love we begin to move against domination, against oppression. The moment we choose to love we begin to move towards freedom, to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others.
~ bell hooks




















`

can the pope take obama's confession?

I was raised Catholic, including K-12 in Catholic schools. It shocked my folks when I chose to attend an elite but nonsectarian university! My godmother was my aunt Jody, age 17, who took her final vows the day after my baptism. And then for years my mom tried to bully me into dedicating myself to becoming a nun. For about five years, I attended daily mass with the nuns, who went to the 7 a.m. mass, including all summer, with towheaded me sitting with them, secretly mortified cause they were all very attentive because they all believed, cause of my mom, that I had a vocation. I cursed Aunt Jody a long time for giving me the curse of a vocation. Mom said her mother gave one of her children go god, so my mom would give one of her kids to god: me. Every time she said that I wanted to say, but mom would have considered it sassing her, "Why do you want to give me away?" and "Why giveaway your only daughter when you have four sons to give to god?" Note taht when my sis was finally born, when I was 14, mom did not want to give her to god. Just me.

rambling, I know, but I have Catholic cred. My life revolved around our parish life until I escaped for college, never to return to live with my kin.

Now that I have established my cred, and of course I went through lots of very ritualistic preparation for receiving all the sacraments for the first time. We had to learn about the religious aspects of confession before we could give confession and we had to do confession before we could do the sacrament of communion.

also keep in mind that I later trained as a lawyer so I think like one still, in spite of my best efforts to escape that mindset. Law school is more intense brainwashing than the nuns at my Catholic schools, I tell ya.

It seems to me that the pope could hear Obama's confession, that confessing his sins to the pope or anyone, could be a healing, venting, spiritual release for Obama as long it was a sincerely felt acknowledgement of actions Obama sincerely believes to have been a violation of God's Will.

the pope could not cleanse Obama's soul, which is the essence of the scrament of Confession, at least not technically.

I think the pope could hear Obama's confession and even give Obama a blessing of forgiveness. The key is not Obama's Catholicism or lack thereof, methinks. The missing element is that Obama has to understand the nature of his sins, has to feel genuine regret and wishes to receive God's forgiveness.

Come to think of it, God's forgiveness is available to Obama and anyone without the Catholic sacrament of confession.

I always thought the sacrament of confession was made up (1) partly because engaging in searching moral inventories and acknowledging our mistakes is good for the human soul and (2) giving only priests' the power of absolution was a good ploy to control Catholics. Controlling Catholics has been central to most things the catholic church does.

Although Obama gives the appearance of being a classy, refined, erudite guy with, seemingly, good values, and although it appears that Obama does not see himself as a sinner, I don't think Obama could receive the sacrament of Confession because I don't think he thinks his wars, drone murders, private negotiations with drug companies that put the kibosh on single-payer health care, the appointments of Tim Geithner and that odious former Harvard guy as his key economic advisers indicates Obama is actually a good guy.  And what about Rahm Emmanuel, evil in a good suit?  I was always skeptical about Obama, a very slick Manchurian candidate if you ask me, but when he chose Rahm Emmanual right after he won his first presidential vote as his Chief of Staff, I knew Obama would turn out just as he has.  I think Rahm is downright evil, in thrall to power and in thrall to kissing the asses of the rich. And so is Obama but he has prettier rhetoric.

I think his good guy image is propaganda. Oh, I think he is as good as we get but he did have a Democratic Congress his first two years in office and he squandered that Democratic majority with lots of giveaways.

Guantanamo is still open, with men now suffering there for a decade and no end in sight for many.

Just because Obama uses Orwellian doublespeak to bluster about his actions not being warmongering when he is a warmonger. 

Nope. I think a non-Catholic could receive absolution if he gives a searching and fearless mral invetory to a priest, altho maybe it would technically be a sacrament it could be genuine absolution.

I don't think Obama has the requisite recognition that he has committed real sins as president, caused many to suffer because of choices he makes and he favors the rich, letting those tax cuts continue.

The pope could only hear a confession of someone who is sorry for his sins. Being Catholic is not a requisite for God's forgiveness. And one need not give confession to a Cahtolic priest. One can silently make a genuine act of contribition and receive Spirit's, or Love's, or God's, forgiveness.

I don't think Obama is sorry for his sin. That is the block to him giving an act of contrition.

He'll be accountable for his actions, as we all will, at some point in our soul's journey.

We could have much worse presidents. Like Hills. Gosh, I hope Bernie somehow pulls the Democratic nomination out of the crapper. I can't vote for whichever loonietunes get the Repug nomination and I sure as shit don't wanna vote for lying, warmongering, corporatist Hillary. Do you?